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I was giddy by the time we actually began the drive from New York City to Boston.  We had been saved from near disaster by God’s Gas and we were on our way to see my brother graduate from MIT and we would have two more nights in comfy hotel beds before we began to rough it in Canada.  My silliness may have reached a new level of road insanity, as we referred to it.  Whatever turnpike or toll way (or whatever they call their roads) we were on decorated their clean up signs with Pilgrim hats.  Thus began my song writing career.  “This is My Pilgrim Hat, My Name is Bridget” was the chorus of all of my songs.  By the time we left Massachusetts, I had been threatened by a shoe multiple times by Lisa, who was sick of me trying to rhyme words with my name…or her name…or ANYTHING.

We were in high spirits as we pulled into the hotel that my parents had reserved rooms at for the family. Until we realized we were at the wrong hotel.  But they were REALLY high when we got to the right hotel!

My sister and parents would be arriving later that day, but we figured we would check-in to our room and then get in touch with Sam, my brother, with whom we would hang out until the family arrived.

We grabbed our bags and marched up to the counter to check-in.  Everything was going smoothly, as my parents had put my name on the reservation as well…until they asked me for my ID.  I obliged.  I was then informed that I was not old enough to check into the hotel.


I was 20 years old, I thought you had to be 18?

Apparently, not in this county, city, state, hotel chain or WHATEVER we were told was the governing body of the employee’s decision making process.

We had arrived early enough that I knew my parents hadn’t even left for the airport yet, so I had the desk call them.  They called and confirmed they would be there in a few hours.

That was great – but apparently not enough.

So, we chose to back down and drive over to the MIT campus.  Not, however, after witnessing several OBVIOUSLY teenage kids dressed in tuxes and wearing Nike Flip Flops carrying some very strange shaped objects through the lobby…

Good thing they had tight security…no innocent girls months from turning 21 were getting through their check in process!

We survived Bostonian traffic and arrived at Alpha Phi Omega, where we met my brother.  He took us about the neighborhood showing us where John F. Kennedy had been born and we did some shopping and ate dinner.

We still had time to kill before we could meet my parents at the hotel.  So we returned to APO.  Upon walking in and meeting a few of the brethren, it became clear that the movie Revenge of the Nerds had been inspired my brother’s fraternity.  We joined in the fray and played video games until it was time to return to the hotel.


After joining my sister in “The Kids’ Room” we enjoyed sleep after a long few days.

We arose early, excited for the showers that we had not had upon arriving the day before.  We had to get going early to stake our claim at the MIT graduation ceremony.  My sister and I enjoyed a quick dip in the hotel pool while Lisa got ready.  When we got back to the room, she was not showered.

There was no water. Anywhere in the hotel. Or the block.  The pipe line had been severed in the construction outside the hotel.

This trip seemed to enjoy me sans shower.  We had left Minnesota without me showering, and now we would all attend my brother’s big graduation day, ripe as could be.

So we piled into the rental van, happy to let the Razzle Dazzle enjoy a day off.  We arrived in the bright glorious sunshine to find thousands of folding chairs assembled in front of the iconic MIT dome.  My brother had neglected to inform us that it would be outside.  My fair Irish skin would be subject to strong rays for hours, and I did not have water or sunscreen.

Then we got the good news: MIT graduates all of its students AT THE SAME TIME!  PhD candidates right on down to the girl who, on the tour five years earlier, had asked if she could double major in dance.


Though I had no water or sunscreen, I did have a book.  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston kept me entertained for the first TWO HOURS OF OUR BAKE-OFF.  By about two and a half hours in, we were starting to get close to the conferring of the degree upon Samuel J. Hoolihan. We were able to see tiny specks on the stage where this was occurring.

My mother began to fret about getting a good picture.  I told her not to worry, Bridget and Lisa were on the case.

So I took my camera and began to walk towards the stage, trying not to be too rude and block other people.  We came to a roped off area.  I looked around and went under.  A security guard began to come after me, calling for me to stop.  I kept going.

Lisa took one look at him and said, “She doesn’t know what she’s doing.  I’ll go and get her.”

And we planted ourselves out of sight until my brother became an MIT graduate and took some…not so great, but better than they would have been pictures.


By the time it was all over, we were hot, sweaty, stinky, thirsty and hungry…but by God we had an MIT graduate in the family. ImageThe rest of the Boston trip consisted of walking around MIT, eating, drinking water and taking showers.  It was fun to see my family, but the next day Lisa and I would finally cross the Canadian border and be one step closer to the dream.  Nova Scotia.